International Housing First seminar in Brazil – November 2023

The International Housing First Seminar was organized by the Ministry of Human Rights and Citizenship of Brazil, the Centre for Mental Health, Human Rights and Social Justice, and Columbia University. It was possible with funding from the University of Essex and a generous donation from Prof. Hans Wijbrand Hoek, from the Parnassia Psychiatric Institute in the Netherlands.

Photo: Clarice Castro/MDHC

The event marked a vital convergence of thought leaders and policy implementors dedicated to the betterment of society through the lens of mental health, human rights, and social justice. We believe collaborative dialogues and shared insights are integral in the quest to address homelessness and housing instability with compassion and effectiveness. 

Among the international guests were Sam Tsemberis, developer of the Housing First approach, and Leilani Farha, Human Rights lawyer and former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Affordable Housing.

The Seminar also marked the national launch of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy.

Attendees for the seminar included civil society, high-level ministry officials, international Housing First scholars, and Human Rights experts. The convening brought together hundreds of stakeholders from across the nation to learn best practices from those involved in implementing Housing First policies successfully in other countries. Additionally, guests shared perspectives on constructing a rights-based plan to end homelessness in Brazil, and to develop plans for the monitoring and evaluation of the pilot programme. The International Housing First Seminar in Brazil was a great success and received substantive media coverage nationally.